Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion

by Auroville Language Laboratory
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Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion

Dear friends,

Due to a marvelous donation of $750 from Jane, an MHC Alum connected to Auroville who came and visited our project twice, and consistent regular recurring donations from her friend Sandy, and old MHC classmate Christa, as well as the donations earlier in the year from some of you, our project achieved its financial goal!

We have therefore been asked by GlobalGiving to "retire" our project.

This is actually a huge achievement! 

It means it will still be listed but will not be eligible to raise any more money.  As you know, the main aim of the project was to acquire the expensive equipment needed to be able to offer the Tomatis English program to women and girls in the region.  We bought all the equipment and so don't need to raise any more funds.

Covid lockdown rules still are in place and we can't yet open to people from the villages around Auroville. But one day those restrictions will be removed, we know, and we remain committed to implementing the project and making it a reality.

Meanwhile, we have conceived online classes, one in particular oriented towards women and girls, and two members of our team will be visiting key groups and social enterprises working with women to spread information about these & also to prepare the way for the Tomatis Group Listening sessions in the future once things open.

Whatever money was collected for the project over and above the cost of the equipment has been held safely at the Auroville Unity Fund.   We'd like to request your permission to use this money to help pay the shortfall in the salaries and wages for our team and staff for this month.  

We are very proud to say that we managed to pay the salaries for the six months March to August in spite of the Covid lockdown.  But this month we don't have enough to cover all the salaries. Our regular sources of income dried up during Covid.  As you know Tapas and I as Directors do not take any salary at all, but we do need to pay our wonderful though fairly large young team. And this is the first month since Covid hit that we are not going to be able to do it.  However, with the monies you have given us through GlobalGiving, we will be able to. Of course we need your permission to do this.

Please let us know if you are fine with this.  We need your OK to go ahead.

With many thanks and much love,

Mita, on behalf of the team.

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Dear friends,

The work that happened (and did not happen due to Covid-19), is best described in the words of the Volunteer whom we took on precisely to work on the GG Women's Tomatis English Training Project.  Do have a look at her report attached.

We're still in lockdown.  Let's see what happens in the next few weeks.  We're hoping the lockdown will be lifted from June 01st.  Of course, we can't go back to how things were before, and masks, social distancing, washing hands, sanitizing frequently touched furniture, etc, will all be part of the protocol when we re-start both at the Lab and at Tomatis. There is an opportunity to take the project forward post-Covid that has appeared in collaboration with another Auroville organization, working with village women north of Auroville.  We'll let you know if and as and when that develops.

Meanwhile, please have a look at what young Pratyusha had to say about her work on the project and her experience.  Attaching her report as well as the recommendation we did for her.  PLEASE OPEN THESE ATTACHMENTS.

Hope all of you are staying safe and healthy, and that none of you have experienced any losses in your families due to Covid-19.  Auroville has, thankfully, remained Covid-free throughout this period.

Lots and lots of love from Auroville,

Mita

PS: I just opened an Instagram account.  I'll share photos and videos about the building, Tomatis, the Lab, as well as general reflections and insights, team photos, updates, things I am learning, raw vegan recipes I am experimenting with, etc.  In case you are on Instagram, please follow me: https://www.instagram.com/mitaralltomatis/


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Hi everyone!

Remember our last project report?

https://www.GlobalGiving.org/projects/empowering-women-and-girls-in-auroville-and-bioregion/reports/?subid=137282

So, we did the first batch of the women's Tomatis group English training last year.  But after that, we were inundated with our ongoing work, and the building as well, that we honestly could not take the Women's project forward after the first batch.

In our previous report, we mentioned this was due to the fact that all of us are multi-tasking like crazy, and we also lack one dedicated person (woman) committed exclusively to the project as a whole.    We did think that as soon as one member of our team, would get back after her maternity leave (which extended to a year!), she could dedicate herself to the project. But that was an impractical idea.  Because she brings her little one-year-old, to the office with her.  So while our team has unexpectedly expanded now with this tiny being, who keeps us all smiling and happy, it also means that she can only work half-time, taking care of the regular ongoing programs, but won't be able to do the running around required by the GG Women's project.

And as of today, our prayers are answered!  We are getting an Indian-origin volunteer, a recent graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor in Social Science, specialization in International Development, who is looking to pursue a Bachelor of Education and become a language teacher!  She plans to come in Feb and will stay here until May.

She finds the whole Tomatis approach really interesting, as also our GlobalGiving women's project.  She is totally on board to take this project as her responsibility and to work with our team brainstorming, planning, seeing how we need to adjust the requirements of the program with the constraints women are facing in their time schedules (without compromising the program of course).  She would need to go around informing the Auroville units/NGOs that work with village women and girls about it, to go out to the schools to reach out to the schoolteachers and the girls, etc. So that we can try and meet some of the goals we dreamt about when we launched the project!  She will also take care of the regular English lessons for these women and can do specific work with each woman during the Tomatis Active Phase exercises. She’ll also teach a regular non-Tomatis English class, which will be great, so we can observe the differences more closely.

So this is fantastic news; can't wait, and will write next end Feb or Beginning March once she has arrived and we have made our plan of action.

Meanwhile, if any of you wouldn't mind going back and reading our original project proposal, for which you made your donation, and give us some fresh outside perspective, make some comments, ask some questions, that would be wonderful and would really help.

Love, and looking forward to hearing from at least some of you!

Mita

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Passive Phase Listening
Passive Phase Listening

Hello all!

How time flies!

Our first GlobalGiving Women's English group has finished its Tomatis program.  They did the 40 hours passive and 30 hours active program of listening training, just as stated in our project proposal.  All reported a greater understanding of English, as well as less hesitation in speaking, more ease or flow of the language, and more confidence.

Maybe you can evaluate this yourselves?  Have a look at these Before and After videos and tell us what you think.  What do you hear and observe? Do you see any changes?  Please share your observations/thoughts!

M Video - https://youtu.be/waCTrtSc980

Unfortunately, due to the startup difficulties, only two of the four took the Language Lab's English level test before starting the program, in the middle, and after finishing.  But those tests - mainly grammar tests - revealed an improvement of 50%.  Which is amazing, considering the fact that everyone thinks one has to have classes specifically on grammar in order to learn it. Whereas, the 50% improvement was due only to the listening training, with no grammar classes at all!

Three of them followed up the program by joining English classes with a teacher in our Tomatis classroom.  (One could not due to work commitments).  The youngest just joined college.  Another qualified to start the process of joining Auroville as a "Newcomer".  The third is making progress writing emails, required by her job.  We will keep following them to see how they progress and what they need.  More individual sessions reading out loud with a teacher will definitely help further.

Meanwhile, it has been difficult to create another group to follow the first one.  We realize that actually, developing the project as we originally conceived it, requires one person dedicated only to the project, who can do the legwork required to spread the word to women.  It is true that we get a lot more men than women coming to the Lab on their own.  So reaching out to women, requires a woman dedicated to the task!  Inundated with so many different tasks and work, including our commitment to the daily programs for children with special needs (autism spectrum, learning disorders, developmental delays, etc), and so much work related to the Auroville collectivity in the last few months, there was very little time to do this PR work and reach out in the way the project requires.  But it is our Commitment, and we will keep it! 

The project requires new energy! Actually, we had depended on one of our wonderful women assistants to anchor this project.  But her maternity leave extended (3 months have turned into 11). We miss her terribly, but life circumstances got in the way!  She promises now to be back in January.  In the meantime, we'll reach out to the pool of Auroville volunteers for a Tamil-speaking woman to work either full-time or at least half time.  We have been praying for that angel to arrive soon!  As of yesterday, we might just have found someone who can lead us to her!  We'll keep you posted!

Drawing/Artwork is an essential element
Drawing/Artwork is an essential element
Time for self-expression through painting!
Time for self-expression through painting!
Active Phase - Perfect listening posture!
Active Phase - Perfect listening posture!
Exercising the Audio-Vocal Loop!
Exercising the Audio-Vocal Loop!
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Who said Language Learning was difficult????
Who said Language Learning was difficult????

Dear friends: all of you who gave to our project :

We have fabulous news!

The GlobalGiving English Women's first batch started.  There were 5 of them, and one dropped out due to inability to commit the time.  But the four others continued.  They did the entire one month of daily listening training, two hours a day Monday to Friday... They did the entire Tomatis process of listening to English as babies in the womb (the intra-uterine listening rich in high frequency sounds), in what we call the "Passive Phase".  Then, a three-week break.

They just got back yesterday (Monday) to start the "Active Phase".

All report being able to understand English much better than before, and their ability to speak has vastly improved!

In fact, one of them, N., floored me completely today : She hardly ever opened her mouth and had this huge blockage towards speaking English.  And she was excruciatingly shy.  You could feel that something wanted to get past her throat, but it just wouldn't.  I'd had her in class some years ago in our old building as well.  Today: gosh, you should have heard her speak!  Wow. I couldn't believe how she answered my questions easily. Turns out she went to the Auroville Entry group today, which vets people who want to join Auroville.   She described to me the questions they asked and reported her answers.  She was speaking English!!!  When I commented on how her English had improved, and asked her how she felt, she said "I am so happy," with the biggest smile!  I know how frustrated she was earlier, that no matter how much she tried and how many classes she would attend and how much time she would work with the software on our mediatheque, she still could never speak English.  So that big huge blockage has dissolved! She is speaking now, even before the Active Phase!

The other younger one, M, also extremely shy earlier, was laughing and repeating the Active Phase exercises, as were R and J.

But what is the most flabbergasting information : We did our regular English level test which allows us to determine whether someone is a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced student.  This test is basically a Grammar-based test. We'd done this just before the start of the program.  We redid the tests after the one month Listening Training and the 3-week break, just before they got back on Monday. Their performance was significantly better!  What is remarkable is that they did not attend a single grammar class, nor work on the computers in this time.  The improvements in grammar were entirely due to the Listening Training alone! 

Which just goes to prove what Dr. Tomatis said in the 1950s : that babies learn language, including grammar, in the womb!  By re-creating those womb-like conditions sonically, through our Tomatis machine, we can help people assimiliate (rather than "learn") the language, break down blockages, get over the need to mentally translate all the time, imbibe grammar "naturally", gain confidence enough to start speaking and have the speech flow!

In the world of education, this is revolutionary and ground-breaking!

We do have videos of them reading and also answering a few basic questions before they started the program, and now, just before the Active Phase. The difference is remarkable and we'll put the videos up on our Youtube channel in a few days.  It's SO exciting!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeTIG0y-sBMlyywZNdZcAng/videos

We'll keep you posted about their progress in the Active Phase.

ALL THIS BECAME POSSIBLE THANKS TO ALL OF YOU! 

None of this could have happened without you and your donation to the project.

So, an enormous Thank You!

By the way, in other news :  have a look :

- Computer link :https://transsolar.com/news/newsletter-june-2019-online

- Mobile link : https://mailchi.mp/133413f0a158/tsnewsletterjune2019?e=dd883081c1

One of the world's leading Climate Engineering firms, focussing on constructing buildings and climate responsive eco-cities, is studying our building as a Climate-Responsive building!

Please do us the pleasure of writing back if you see this and read this!  We'd LOVE to hear what you think about all this. Do you think your money was well spent????  Hoping to hear from you soon!

Links:

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Organization Information

Auroville Language Laboratory

Location: Auroville, Tamil Nadu - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Mita Radhakrishnan
Auroville, Tamil Nadu India

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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